Alex Lowery speaks about autism

Circus Starr – show and tell app review

Written on 1st May 2015 by Alex Lowery

‘Circus Starr’ supports thousands of children with additional needs throughout the UK by providing £1.3m worth of free tickets to their show for people with additional needs that is on show ever year. Circus Starr has designed an app for children with autism so that they can be prepared and know what to expect from the circus. I was asked to attend the circus as well as review this app for autistic children. The app is called ‘show and tell’.  On Monday I checked out the app and my family and I attended the circus with free tickets that were sent to us. I am now reviewing the app and talking about how well the app would work for children with autism. I will also be talking a little bit about the circus itself.

Overall, I think the app is very good and it would work well for many kids on the spectrum. The app basically has pictures with text of all the things you will find in the circus and in the order in which they’ll happen as well as pictures of what everything will look like. As you may know, people with autism can become very anxious when unexpected things happen, and routine is extremely important for a person on the spectrum. Having an app, which shows everything that you’ll find in the circus, is good because it means that there is unlikely to be too many unpredictable surprises for the person with autism. If I had to give one piece of constructive criticism, I would say that the language may not quite be clear enough for a person with autism, but that isn’t a huge issue because it’s quite likely that the parent will be reading it to the child, and will put it into words that the child will understand. I think an app like this would have been really helpful for me as a child. I would recommend this app if you want to take a child to the Circus Starr

I will now talk a bit about the circus itself, which was a circus for people with addition needs. I really enjoyed the circus with all the amazing skills and tricks. However, I will say that it wouldn’t work for some people with autism. There were a lot a lot of flashing bright lights, and the music was rather loud at some points and it was rather crowded (even though that is to be expected). Of course these things aren’t going to be a problem for every person with autism, but they may upset some. I don’t think I could have coped with it as a child. I saw people with ear defenders on which would probably help certain people as well, so it could always be worth bringing ear defenders. I think the clown was pretty good because he wasn’t a scary looking clown. In fact; his face wasn’t even painted white. When you have children with autism or even additional needs in general, this is probably a good thing, because there are likely many people with autism who are terrified of clowns. I know I was scared as a child. I even remember seeing this clown book in my house that I kept wanting hidden from my sight because of how much the pictures scared me. And in severe cases of disability, a person may even struggle to separate fiction from reality. I think they made the right move with not making the clown have too much makeup on. Overall, I think (provided that a child’s sensory issues don’t get in the way) this circus was a great event and a great chance for children with additional needs to enjoy the same things regular children do. I hope you found this review helpful.

 

 

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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